From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sudan, which is located to the south of Egypt and touching the Red Sea, is Africa's largest country in land area. "Since independence from Britain in 1956, a north-south war has dominated Sudan's history, pitting Arab Muslims in the northern desert against black Christians and animists in the southern wetlands. Muslim Arabs control the government in Khartoum, but are only about 39 percent of the population. Blacks, or Africans, make up 52 percent of Sudanese, and are most numerous in southern and western Sudan. The country is further divided with hundreds of black, Arab, and non-Arab ethnicities, tribes, and languages."[1] The U.S. Department of State has labeled Sudan a "state sponsor of terrorism." [1]

Humanitarian disaster

According to an April 7, 2004, New York Times Op-Ed, "The worsening humanitarian disaster in western Sudan, where thousands of people have been killed and almost a million driven from their homes and farms by government-backed forces, will test whether the world has learned anything from its failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda 10 years ago. The United Nations, the United States, the European Union and African states must press the Sudanese government to halt attacks on civilians and to let aid agencies in. Absent swift and determined international action, Sudan could be another case of outside neglect allowing famine and disease to consume a nation.

"For two decades, the Muslim Arab elite in Khartoum, the capital, has responded ruthlessly to political, economic and social demands from Sudan's ethnically and religiously diverse regions. After a cease-fire was declared in 2002 in the long-running civil war between the government and rebels in the south, Khartoum turned its forces on black African rebels in the Darfur region in the west. Instead of aiming solely at the rebels, however, the government, helped by Arab militias, has also taken aim at civilians.

"Throughout Darfur -- a huge region the size of France -- villages have been bombed and their inhabitants killed, raped and forced into government-run concentration camps, where they are preyed upon further by militia fighters. Aid agencies have been denied access to most of the displaced. Some people, though near starvation, are refusing aid for fear of retribution. The few international monitors in the area estimate that more than 1,000 people are dying each week from violence and disease. With no planting having been done in this agricultural region, the prospect of a devastating famine looms.

"Peace talks between Khartoum and the rebels began this week in neighboring Chad, but are faltering for want of sufficient pressure from the United States, the European Union and African states. The United States should use its leverage with Khartoum -- which sheltered Osama bin Laden for six years but now wants to improve ties with Washington -- to demand that aid agencies and humanitarian monitors have unhindered access to the displaced. If they need military protection, then the international community should be willing to provide it.

"Khartoum's actions in Darfur amount to crimes against humanity, and should be recognized as such by the U.N. Security Council. It is a bleak paradox that Sudan's president, Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, is scheduled to attend commemorations in Rwanda this week of the genocide there 10 years ago while his forces back home are engaged in such appalling atrocities," according to the New York Times Op-Ed.

Criticisms of intervention

In November 2006 Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi "accused the West of trying to grab Sudan's oil wealth with its plan to send U.N. troops to Darfur and urged Khartoum to reject them. "Western countries and America are not busying themselves out of sympathy for the Sudanese people or for Africa but for oil and for the return of colonialism to the African continent," he said." [2]

In January 2007, Jay Janson reported that "There has been a glaring omission in the U.S. media presentation of the Darfur tragedy. The compassion demonstrated, mostly in words, until recently, has not been accompanied by a recognition of U.S. complicity, or at least involvement, in the war which has led to the enormous suffering and loss of life that has been taking place in Darfur for many years." [3]

In August 2007, Stephen Gowans notes that: "Many Western activists have rallied around calls for sanctions on Sudan and UN intervention in Darfur. But a review of recent Western interventions in the world’s trouble spots suggests their faith is misplaced. While the US and its allies, and the UN Security Council, point to lofty goals as the basis for their interventions, the true goals are invariably shaped by the economic interests of the corporations and investment banks that dominate policy making in Western countries. Worse, intervention has typically led to the deterioration of humanitarian crises, not their amelioration." [4]

In September 2007 Stephen Gowans adds that: "According to the UN commission appointed to investigate Washington’s charges that the Sudanese government is pursing a policy of genocide, the accusations have no foundation. It’s true, the commission found, that Khartoum has responded disproportionately to attacks on government forces by rebel groups, and it’s true that Khartoum is implicated in war crimes, but the commission found no evidence the Sudanese government is engaged in the project of seeking to eliminate an identifiable group, the defining characteristic of a policy of genocide. As far as humanitarian disasters go, the disaster in Iraq is far worse. So who would trust the perpetrators of that disaster – who, after all lied about there being a genocide in Kosovo and banned weapons in Iraq — to intervene in Darfur to resolve the humanitarian crisis there? That would be like giving your car keys to a known thief and pathological liar." [5]

"Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander stated on DemocracyNow: “… And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, *Sudan* and, finishing off, Iran.” Amy Goodman interviewed Wesley Clark, “Gen. Wesley Clark Weighs Presidential Bid: “I Think About It Everyday“, 2 March 2007." [6]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Sudan Facts, National Geographic, accessed December 2010.
  2. Moammar Gadhafi, "Gadhafi: U.N. Darfur Force Is Ruse to Grab Sudan's Oil", Global Research, November 20, 2006.
  3. Jay Janson, "Early CIA Involvement in Darfur Has Gone Unreported", Global Research, January 24, 2007.
  4. Stephen Gowans, "Faith in UN Intervention in Darfur Misplaced", Global Research, August 10, 2007.
  5. Stephen Gowans, "Faith in UN Intervention in Darfur Misplaced Faith in UN Intervention in Darfur Misplaced", Znet, September 24, 2007.
  6. Paul de Rooij, "“Humanitarian Wars” and Associated Delusions", Fanonite, August 14, 2007.

External links

General information

U.S. Department of State Country Report: Sudan

U.S. State Department Reports and Notes on Counter-Terrorism and Sanctions

Articles & commentary